Oklahoma Bans Almost All Abortion..... Let's Ban Oklahoma
This may be the most massive civil rights attack in modern history.
Will Smith’s Oscar slap probably garnered more press and public reaction than any other story this year. But a couple days ago, Oklahoma delivered a collective slap to the faces of the nearly two million females who live in that state and raised a threatening hand to the 168 million females who live in this country.
The reaction? Mostly crickets.
I can’t think of anything that demonstrates just how much America disrespects women than the fact that state after state has recently passed restrictive 1950s-ish abortion laws and millions aren’t taking to the streets in outraged protest on a daily basis. A couple summers ago between 16 and 20 million people marched in the streets to support Black Lives Matter by decrying police brutality and systemic racism, making it the largest protest movement in U.S. history. We need that same commitment now in defense of the civil rights of half the population of the U.S.
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Oklahoma Goes Full Agro on Women
Texas, Florida, and Mississippi may have started this patriarchal movement to hobble women the way Kathy Bates handles James Caan in Misery, but at least 19 other states are readying or have passed legislation to restrict abortion to the first 15 weeks. Worst of all, Oklahoma has decided to go a step further by outlawing abortion almost altogether. Senate Bill 612 would make performing an abortion in Oklahoma, “except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency,” a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $100,000. Did Oklahoma legislators watch The Handmaid’s Tale and think, “Yes, that’s the kind of forward-thinking orderly society where I’d like to raise my daughters.”
A quick look at the logic of the law already shows a deep moral contradiction. The exception “to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency” admits that the born woman’s life is more valuable to society than the unborn life. Given the choice between the two, the law gives her preference. If that’s true, then it’s also true at other times during the pregnancy. This is especially important because giving birth itself risks death.
How much of a risk is it? The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country in the world yet, when compared to 49 other countries in the “developed world,” we have the highest rate of women dying from giving birth. About 700 women die each year in the U.S. from childbirth or delivery-related complications. Oklahoma’s answer: Tough luck.
Again, using the bill’s own wording and logic, since giving birth risks death (and therefore always a possible medical emergency), and the female is more valuable to society than the fetus, having an abortion should be available to the woman upon request.
Is This the Dark Turning Point for America?
Four months ago I posted an article (“The Only Way to Resolve the Abortion Controversy”) about the dangers of the new wave of restrictive abortion laws and the greed, shady political ambition, and bad logic behind them. Now, things have just gotten much, much worse. The bill doesn’t just prohibit virtually all abortions, it copies Texas’s civilian bounty-hunting enforcement plan which encourages private citizens to sue an abortion provider for up to $10,000 if they violate the law. What shouts how much America values freedom more than the government rewarding citizens who inform on their friends, family, and neighbors? This week a Russian teacher was recorded by her 13- and 14-year-old students using anti-war rhetoric (she was against the bombing of the maternity hospital). She now faces loss of her profession and years imprisonment for “discrediting” the Russian army. When did Russia become our role model?
If it isn’t stopped, the bill will go into effect August 26, 2022. We have until then to convince them—and the rest of the country—that we value women’s rights—and lives—more than the politicians using this as phony virtue-signaling to get votes from sincere but misled people. It’s obvious that Republican politicians don’t care if the law survives past the mid-term elections of 2022 (or they would have passed it years ago). They just want to rile people up with dog whistle issues, then slink back into their leather chairs until the next election.
Republicans want government out of their gun cabinets, yet in women’s wombs.
The problem isn’t just that Oklahoma is turning into the Imperial Death Star, it’s that they’re emboldening other states to do the same thing. This is what happened when Texas restricted abortion to 15 weeks and other states quickly followed.
We Have to Fight Back Now—Before It’s Too Late
If we want women to be more than fetal incubators, then the first step is to encourage the people of Oklahoma to vote out the political weasels who passed the bill. We do this by applying economic and cultural pressure, the way we have been doing with Russia in response to its war on Ukraine. Certainly, Oklahoma’s war on women is just as important.
Oklahoma must become a cultural and business no-fly zone until we at least tighten a tourniquet around the systemic misogyny giving the country social gangrene. Hollywood, corporations, and sports organizations should boycott Oklahoma and its businesses until the bill is dropped. No music concerts, no movie releases, no sporting events. Sports teams from Oklahoma may play in other states, but no teams travel to Oklahoma to play.
The rest of us stop buying products from or doing business with their top ten companies: Imperial, Hobby Lobby, Avis Budget Group, QuikTrip, Love’s Travel Stops Country Stores, Accord Human Resources, Helmerich Payne, Sonic, Oklahoma State University, and MidFirst Bank. No one vacations there. Hopefully, these measures will be complimented by large and continuous protests from all people who won’t tolerate injustice.
In the movie Getting Straight, Elliott Gould plays a grad student trying to reason with a university president who refuses to listen to the students protesting outside. The stodgy president gives a bunch of excuses about how people need his guidance because they can’t handle freedom. Gould responds, “Let go! Stop trying to hold back the hands of the clock! IT'LL TEAR YOUR ARMS OUT!” This attempt by state governments to drag women by the hair back to a time when men ruled and women nodded silently will tear their arms out. And we have to ensure it does.